A new report by the Anti-Defamation League concludes that white supremacists “are alive and well, and they are operating both in groups and as lone wolves,” including in parts of New Jersey.
“With Hate in their Hearts: The State of White Supremacy in the U.S.” was released on July 13, one month after gunmen with white supremacist ties massacred nine African-American worshipers at a church in Charleston, SC.
Among the key findings of the report was that anti-Semitism “is also important for the majority of white supremacists, most of whom actually believe that Jews constitute a race of their own — a race with parasitic and evil roots.”
ADL leaders noted that white supremacists are far less common on the East Coast than on the West Coast and/or the South or Southwest, and that there is little Ku Klux Klan activity in New Jersey. But according to Joshua Cohen, the ADL’s NJ regional director, such organizations do have an active presence in the state and include neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, traditional white supremacists, and “Christian Identity” adherents.
“These groups buy into racist and anti-Semitic ideology, and through the Internet they are able to meet people with similar ideologies and belief systems,” he told NJ Jewish News in a July 16 phone interview. “When Nazi and white supremacist groups schedule meetings, there are a number of anti-racist groups that come out.”
One such group is the Advanced White Society, whose NJ base is in Birmingham, in Burlington County. It is active primarily in the mid-Atlantic region and in Ohio, according to the ADL.
“They have been mostly quiet, distributing flyers in central New Jersey and using pseudo-intellectual language to get their message across. They are talking about immigration, they are talking about Obama policies, but you can’t rebrand hate,” said Cohen.
Another group is the Atlantic City-based Racist Skinheads, who spread their white power message to young people through hardcore rock music. Among their most prominent musical groups is one called “Aggravated Assault.”
A New Jersey-based merchandising company called Micetrap.org is a sponsor of “Micetrap Skinhead Radio.” It is currently offering Confederate flags for sale on its website.
In Bound Brook, the Aryan Strike Force is “still active at private events and have some relations with another group called the Aryan Terror Brigade, whose website lists affiliations with 22 like-minded groups in New Jersey,” said Cohen.
The state also has a chapter of the New York-based American Freedom Party. “They refer to themselves as the ‘tolerance mafia.’ They have new mantras like “Diversity = White Genocide,” he said.
The ADL report dovetails with a report released earlier this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center from its Montgomery, Ala., headquarters. It located 40 hate groups in New Jersey, saying the state has the fourth-highest number of active hate groups in the country.
In March of this year the ADL issued its annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents — noting that in New Jersey physical assaults, harassment, and acts of vandalism rose by 27 percent, from 78 in 2013 to 107 in 2014. They included three Jewish New Jerseyans assaulted in 2014, one more than in 2013. Acts of vandalism rose from 47 to 56. And incidents of threats and harassment increased from 29 in 2013 to 48 last year.
While he would not discuss 2015 statistics before the ADL’s next annual audit is released in March 2016, Cohen told NJ Jewish News, “Anti-Semitism rears its head in New Jersey far more often than I would like it to. One anti-Semitic incident is too many, and it is important when people deal with any bias incident they report it to the police, and they can call us.
“We have always been the 9-1-1 for the Jewish community.”